You might be forgiven for thinking the glass on the left contains orange juice. But it doesn’t – in fact it’s something far more health inducing than even that. It’s turmeric juice, the delicious new spicy drink that’s sweeping the planet.
Turmeric has been long known to curry aficionados and mustard lovers alike for its wonderful earthy aroma with spicy hints of lemon and mint. More recently it’s been the subject of
thousands of scientific studies aimed at uncovering the medicinal properties of the spice. The secret lies in one of the compounds of the plant, curcumin, which it shares with other members of the ginger family (though they only contain trace elements of the substance). Quite a lot of claims have been made for curcumin as it appears to be effective as a painkilling, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, anti-coagulant, and anti-inflammatory supplement. Probably the last category is the most important as inflammation is seen by the cutting edge of medical science as the root cause of many diseases. We are now starting to understand how the microbiome, the delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria that live in our intestines, affects the whole of our health and the process of disease. Curcumin reduces inflammation in the gut thus allowing the good bacteria flourish and the less good ones to perish. A healthy gut usually equals a healthier person.
So indulge in turmeric. Use it to flavour your curries, and colour your rice. Be adventurous and add a pinch of turmeric powder to foods as diverse as scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, soups, teas, lattes, and even mashed potatoes. But using turmeric root can give you an even more powerful hit of curcumin. You can make a delicious turmeric drink very easily. Take a small handful of turmeric roots and place them in your food processor with a cup or two of water. Add half a fresh lemon and some organic honey to taste. Blitz them together and then strain the mixture. As with most fresh juices, the quicker you can drink them, the more effective they are.
You can learn more about turmeric and the ginger family generally by visiting the spice terraces at the Tropical Spice Garden and you can learn more about cooking with turmeric in South East Asian dishes at the Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School.